Featured Annotator: Claudia Ceraso

Originally published at framework – Gardner Writes (see it there)

Over a decade ago, I asked a question on Twitter about English usage. To my surprise and delight, a teacher responded, one for whom Spanish was her mother tongue. Several tweets and linked blog posts later, that serendipitous encounter had become a key moment in my life, one I never forgot. https://twitter.com/GardnerCampbell/status/192496692 You’ll hear that story, and how it relates to the Engelbart Framework Annotation expedition, in this conversation with Featured Annotator Claudia Ceraso. The conversation was the first time we had interacted in real time, indeed the first time we had ever met face-to-face (albeit via a video interface). The conversation was thus a meeting and a reunion, focused and intensified by the work of thinking about Doug Engelbart’s 1962 research report Augmenting Human Intellect: A Conceptual Framework. Claudia thinks a great deal about language. Her professional life in Argentina, where she lives, centers on teaching English as a foreign language to native Spanish speakers. I was fascinated by her responses to Engelbart’s thoughts on language and/as technology, and deeply moved by her evident love of language and learning. Claudia has a teacher’s heart and a poet’s soul. I knew this before we spoke, but it was knowledge about, not personal knowledge of. As I go out on a limb, an activity Claudia recommends, I was just above the level of “saber,” and not yet at the level of “conocere.” (Help, Claudia–am I using these words well?) But I had a strong hunch, perhaps even what Claudia teaches me to think of as an “apperception.” Part of what made talking to Claudia such a special experience for me was discovering how right my hunch was, in ways I had not expected. As you will hear in the interview, there was also the experience of mutual memory in our conversation. Our memory was of a time when the possibilities Doug Engelbart envisioned for “thought vectors in concept space” had seemed closer than ever, a time when the wave of hope and discovery called “Web 2.0” had not quite crested. A time of more blogs and more magical structures built and dwelled within, and not yet a time in which surveillance capitalism and poisonous polarization did not characterize so much of the online experience as they do today. A time when one might discover the unmet friend, and yearn for more connections. That time is not over yet, but the building is more arduous, more an act of resistance and willed optimism. My conversation with Claudia Ceraso, centered on Engelbart’s dreams of making the world a better place, demonstrates for me that dreamers are not alone, and that the Internet can still be a true meeting place. I hope you enjoy the interview. Postscript: as you can see from the Twitter timestamp above, the conference exchange between Claudia and me was in 2007. It was the valedictory session of the much-missed “Seminars on Academic Computing” in Snowmass, Colorado. Another loss to mourn, and at the same time, another moment of persistence that the Web enables.